Once a year, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) throws the world's largest mining convention in downtown Toronto. This year, the convention featured a track on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that was open to the public. The final session of this track was a CEO panel featuring Jamie Sokalsky, the CEO of Barrick Gold.
While Sokalsky tried to present Barrick's CSR program as more than just window dressing, I got ahold of the mic to draw attention to the very real and on-going human rights abuses at two of Barrick's mine sites, first in North Mara, Tanzania and then in Porgera, Papua New Guinea. Unfazed by the fact that they turned off my mic, I raised my voice to speak louder about the scale of the devastation in Papua New Guinea. Finally, the security escorted me out as I handed out footnoted fact sheets to the audience at the forum.
Ever wonder why the Globe & Mail puts out fawning editorials about Barrick after every human rights scandal?
Read the background behind the Globe and Mail's love affair with Barrick Gold.
Also see Mining Watch's response, "Globe and Mail proclaims on rapes in Papua New Guinea"
The slideshow video of the recent flight over Lake Cowal shows Barrick's mine pit in the lake bed surrounded by water. On the flight there were hundreds of birds seen in the 1km square toxic tailings dams. Many of these birds have flown great distances to get here and cannot differentiate the difference between the water of Lake Cowal and the tailings dams of the mine. The contamination of water with cyanide and heavy metals by the mine is of major concern to Wiradjuri Traditional Owners and environmentalists.
Since Barrick Gold proposed the absurd plan to dynamite glaciers to get at gold deposits underneath perennial ice, a movement has begun along the Central Andes comprising civil society actors, environmental groups, indigenous peoples, common individuals and even governmental agencies, to ensure glacier protection. In Argentina, the world’s first National Glacier Law was adopted in 2010, and in Chile, there is a National Glacier Policy in place to protect these critical water reservoirs captured in perennial ice.
This report responds to Barrick's misleading and sometimes outright false statements being produced on Barrick's new website, ironically titled “Protecting Glaciers.”
|Chief of Staff is godfather to Munk's son and has links to Munk's policy foundation|
With all of these articles coming out about how Harper's Chief of Staff is a close family friend of the Munks, ProtestBarrick.net decided to put out a short list of all of the ways that the Harper gov. has directly hooked up Barrick over the years!
Barrick and Goldcorp’s Pueblo Viejo gold mining project, the “biggest single foreign direct investment ever done in the Dominican Republic estimated at US $3.5 billion”, should begin full operations in July 2012. While the economic sectors deem it an economic blessing, the local population, environmentalists, and progressive groups strongly oppose it due to numerous social problems already underway and the potential to cause an irreversible environmental disaster in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
|Glacier Protection Law Holds and Mining Companies Must Reveal Impacts|
Barrick Gold, the company that had proposed dynamiting glaciers and hauling them off in dump trucks so they could get at gold reserves at their Pascua Lama project, suffered a major setback today in the Argentine National Supreme Court. An injunction order originally granted to Barrick by a local federal circuit court judge suspending the recently approved National Glacier Act, was terminally revoked. The glacier law is now back in full force for Barrick and other mining companies operating in Argentina.
Mining companies investing in exploration activities all along the Andes mountains were quietly awaiting the ruling by the Argentine Supreme Court which issued an 8 page verdict today stating firmly that the glacier law holds and Barrick and a slew of other mining companies exploring for minerals in the high Andes mountains, will now have to file glacier impact reports on their operations and adhere to the law. If they are found to be in glacier areas, or impacting glaciers, according to the law, they will have to redesign their projects, or worse, pack their bags and go home.
Occupy Toronto Highlights Affected Community Voices in 24-hour protest Against Barrick Gold.
Protesters, joined by Occupy Toronto, rallied outside of Barrick Gold's Annual General Meeting this year to demonstrate their opposition to the Toronto-based company. Many activists had spent the night outside of convention centre that hosted the meeting the night before as a 24 hour sit-in protest against the company.
This year, Amani Mhinda came from Tanzania to speak out against Barrick's abuses in his country. Despite holding a legal proxy to attend the meeting, his entrance was denied. Speakers from Balochistan and Argentina also spoke out against Barrick Gold and other Canadian mining companies. Powerful statements were read from the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous community in Northern Chile and the Porgera Alliance from Papua New Guinea. This year, the protest was also joined Students from the Student School, who targeted the park across the street from the Metro Convention Centre last night.
For the past five years, impacted communities have been speaking out at Barrick's Annual General meeting.
Read Press Release about Amani Mhinda's illegal exclusion from the Barrick AGM
Porgera Alliance statement read at the Barrick Gold AGM.
Diaguita Huascoaltinos Statement for Barrick Gold AGM.
Read article about The Student School's decision to support the Barrick Protest as a school.
Listen to Audio from the protest.
Once a year, the board of Directors of the world's most powerful gold mining corporation converge in downtown Toronto. Join us and representatives from mining-impacted communities to... CONFRONT BARRICK GOLD!
WHY PROTEST BARRICK?
The group SalvaTierra took a non-violent direct action this morning in front of the building where the multinational mining corporation Barrick has part of its offices in capital city, Santo Domingo. It declared its support to dozens of environmental and social groups that have already expressed their opposition to megamining in the country and joined the campaign by the Latin America Mining Conflicts Observatory (OCMAL) to ban cyanide in the whole region.
In their statement, the group warns that: “Mega open pit mining is an activity whose enormous scale entails major environmental impacts, such as the destruction of large forests, the massive consumption of fresh water and electricity, the production of acid drainage, and above all the use of large amounts of highly toxic substances”. Amongst the latter they highlighted cyanide, which Barrick is planning to use for processing 24,000 tons of mineral daily in the Pueblo Viejo mine currently under construction.
The Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), along with several local and international groups presented today an Equator Principles Due Diligence Review to two export credit agencies considering financing Barrick Gold’s highly controversial Pascua Lama gold project, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. The review argues that Pascua Lama is in direct violation of the Equator Principles, which are global norms laying out conditions for responsible investment. The 45 page critique of Barrick’s Pascua Lama project, brings together existing and new evidence showing innumerable social and environmental norms violations by Barrick’s operations at both Pascua Lama (which is set to commence in the near future) as well as at the adjacent project Veladero, also by Barrick.
On Friday, in Washington D.C., the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hear a complaint against the Chilean State, lodged by the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and agricultural community. This case, admitted in February of 2010, claims that the government violated the community's Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), and did not consider comments submitted by the Diaguita Huascoaltinos in the environmental assessment process that approved the mine. The claim also states that Barrick’s claim to land on and near the Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina relies on a series of fraudulent land claims to collectively held-Diaguita Huascoaltinos land.
The Porgera Land Owners Association (PLOA), in partnership with the Porgera Alliance released a report today detailing the case for the urgent resettlement of their people away from Barrick’s Porgera mine. The report covers the health hazards associated with living close to the mine, as well as enumerating the human rights abuses caused by mine security. The report also recounts the history of the mine’s agreements with the local community, revealing a pattern of neglect of the community’s free, prior and informed consent at nearly every stage of the mine’s development.
This report follows investigations and reports published by Amnesty International, Harvard Law, Human Rights Watch, and the Norwegian Government all detailing the dangerous conditions near the Porgera mine. However, this report stands out as a comprehensive look at the history of the Porgera mine, from the perspective of the landowners who have led negotiations with the company.
The police army, on 16th May 2011 intentionally shot dead five people in Nyamongo-Tarime and inflicted seriously bodily harm to many others alleging that they invaded one of the Barrick Gold mines at Nyamongo-Tarime district.
As part of its work, LEAT sent a special research/fact finding mission to collect facts regarding Nyamongo-Tarime massacre and impunities reportedly taking place on 16th May 2011. The fact finding mission composed of Mr. Stanslaus Nyembea (LEAT) and Evans Sichalwe (LHRC).
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Confrontations between local people and mining security are not uncommon near Barrick's North Mara mine in Tanzania. As Bloomberg journalist Cam Simpson reported in his feature story about the mine, "Security guards and federal police allegedly have shot and killed people scavenging the gold-laced rocks to sell for small amounts of cash, according to interviews with 28 people, including victims’ relatives, witnesses, local officials and human-rights workers."
These conflicts take place in the context of forced displacement, destroyed livelihoods and farmlands, and the on-going poisoning of local residents that characterizes Barrick's North Mara mine.
Join us for the...
May 9th: Hamilton, Skydragon Centre, 27 King William,
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network is pleased to invite you to the
third conference on the impact of Canadian mining on local communities
throughout the world, which will take place the 6th - 8th of May of
2011, in Toronto.
WHEN: Wednesday 27 April 2011 @ 10.30AM
WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West, Toronto